In the days of blanks-and-postage, this was my first '73 show. The first piece I ever heard though, was the "You Ain't Woman Enough", as filler on another show that came in the mail. I steered widely as possible from anything country at the time and I thought:
a)WTF? This is the Dead? Really?
b)What a harsh curio!
To me it sounded so unlike them that it scared me away from ever asking for the whole show. So when it eventually got into my collection I was surprised it was such a good show. Granted, overall
, it's just a little above average, but the highs are very solid and make up for the average half. Like 5/8/77 it earned its accolades from trading availability, and being the first/only '73 in many collections. In the intervening years, after absorbing a couple dozen more from '73, this show isn't my fave from the year (like 11/14/73, 11/30/73 and five or six others), but it's still solid and worth hearing. This was the first time the Alembic sound system was toured (this isn't the Wall of Sound - that was in '74 with the double mics. The '73 Alembic looked like this
). The show is packed with stuff but all the SBDs run fast. Some of the high opinions might be because everybody has always had fast versions and varispeed sweetens reactions (they used to varispeed album cuts when they made 45 singles for radio for this reason, à la "Light My Fire).
First Set. The 1st set is long enough that you can pretend it starts at Row Jimmy and have yrself an A+ set. Many of the songs were performed for the first time the week before, including Loose Lucy
, which is rougher the second time around. They're still warming up for Beat it on Down the Line-12
. By Looks Like Rain
it's gotten sloppy, though that makes it a little edge-of-the-seat (if that's yr thang). Box of Rain
isn't quite a trainwreck but very labored and sounds horrible without a -2% pitch correction. Things then totally brighten with a Row Jimmy
that's wonderfully uptempo (even after pitch reduction) and much better than the first-ever, the week before (when Billy made it a four-on-the-floor kick). Keith is good, Bobby's good, Donna's good. Jack Straw
is a bit sketched but then comes a massive, major turnaround and a sequence that makes the show. China>Rider
has beautiful, inventive leads followed by a hot-hot Me & My Uncle-Bottle
. Bobby adds incredible fills to Bertha
, followed by a stellar Playing
, marred only by a short Donnaskreech™. It's much more inspired than 75% of Playin' jams. Bobby's also great on a pat Casey Jones
. It would be easy to listen to the first half of the first set and think everybody's crazy, but there's a classic Dead turnaround where the throttle is pushed forward on the machine, to the red-marked X.
Second Set. Unlike the first set, this set is sprinkled with brilliance throughout, starting with one of 73's better versions of Here Comes Sunshine
. Bobby should have used this tone more. El Paso
smokes and then everything skids on You Ain't Woman Enough
. This was the 1st one and must have been confusing in the stalls. It was performed 15 more times until Oct. Is it a good one? Bad One? Who the fuck knows? One time somebody told me this was performed in '73 because Donna sang backup on the original at Muscle Shoals; but now we have the internet and can call shenanigans on that hypothesis. The second They Love Each Other
is even better than the first, and then comes a big jam. Together, Dark Star>Eyes
traverses 38 minutes, starting in situ and wandering within seconds. It's 13 min of Dark Star before the first lyrics (not uncommon in '73). Maybe not the most notable version of '73 (not any one section stands out) but still good - I like that there's a long Bass solo instead of Drums. Eyes
is bouncy and almost as good as the week before (which also went into China Doll). Dig Jer's Strat tone! The rest is average '73 with Sugaree
in a rare post-jam slot.
Overall = 4 Stars
Row Jimmy - 2nd one ever and really works with this tempo
China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider - absolutely soaring
Me & My Uncle- Has bottle lyric, chipper
Bertha - Great interplay
Playing in the Band - Not the longest of '73 but one of the best
Casey Jones - often a throwaway to me; but not this time
Here Comes Sunshine - Lots of good ones in '73 but check Bobby's delicious tone and enjoy
El Paso - sometimes Jer really grabs a piece
They Love Each Other - 2nd one, getting better
Dark Star>Eyes of the World - Mainly the Eyes, which is crazy good
SOURCES: Not only do all of the SBDs run too fast
, they speed up and slow down. There are also small wow & flutter artifacts that are magnified when not pitched correctly. I like the hall.1580 best with the following caveats:
*Loose Lucy through Tennessee Jed need -1%
*Looks Like Rain is missing part of the solo - use the dusborne matrix at -2%
*Box of Rain through Casey Jones needs -2%
(that's about a half-tone)
*The second set needs -1%
BTW - There's another source that doesn't show up - but is still here (/details/gd1973-02-15.112812.sbd.arf.flac16).
Jack Sabbath - Where it says "This audio is available in streaming format" it means the band has asked that this show be streaming-only. You can still trade for it though.